Hunting the Landscape and the Search for Truth In Painting

New River Fine Art | Burgess Modern + Contemporary

By Gabriel Delgado

In 1904, the painter and writer, Emile Bernard visited the Modern Master, Paul Cezanne, in Aix, located in the South of France. In their ensuing correspondences, Cezanne expounded the priorities of his impressionistic painterly practice. Bernard’s interpretations of Cezanne’s work and ideas were even more influential in the turn-of the-century art circles for appearing to carry the authority of a confidant and trusted colleague.

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“Family Ties: Notes from Mason, Texas” from How To Paint a Cactus; Rex HausmannCourtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

Rex Hausmann, a Texas-based artist, often draws on these famous writings and other Art Historical Cannons to help define his own current Metamodernism Practice of Contemporary Art. Hausmann’s unique and self-formulated genre of artmaking features an amalgamation of friends, family, and happily harnessed mundanity of everyday life into the artist’s complex visual narratives that are gaining national recognition.

His autobiographically driven contemporary landscapes, painterly avatars, and eccentrically specific recorded moments of time come alive in bold, bright and neon colors; artworks giving voice and credence to 400-year-old trees, dusty pick-up trucks, celebratory congregations, and a ‘beautiful mind’ mapping of linking people, places, and things through intrinsic artistic alchemy.

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Rex Hausmann sketching in bookCourtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

Originally from San Antonio, Hausmann grew up in the Hill Country of Boerne, Texas on the Hausmann family “Ranchita”, feeding the horses, riding tractors, and helping tend to the family business. His family’s deep roots not only allowed the artist to feel grounded in the vast and expansive Texas topography, but amass a cohort of like-minded academic, scholarly, and artistic colleagues in which to surround himself with.

Hausmann started his art education at UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio), graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) on scholarship with a BFA in painting (2006) and an MFA in painting (2016).

He has shown his artwork at the 53rd Venice Biennale, The Smithsonian in Washington DC, The Institute of Texan Cultures, Neiman Marcus, The Lawrence Art Center, Hamptons Fine Art Fair, and the being spotlighted in the upcoming Art Miami 2022 art fair during the celebrated Art Basel season in Miami, Florida.

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1983 Fiat | Panda 4 x 4Courtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

His motto of “Grow Where You are Planted” is an artistic slogan that dives deep in the artist’s psychological connections with the people and places his contemporary art represents. From Fort Lauderdale, Uvalde, Breckenridge Park, Florence Cathedrals, to Central Park in New York City, Hausmann pulls the viewer into the microcosm of his daily life; opening a pandora's box to a hidden macroworld of cosmic interconnectivity where the search for truth in art is filled with ducks, trees, chairs, lions, panda bears, and text-based clues to direct the viewer to join in the pursuit (of happiness).

It is within these personally cherished stay-golden days of “every day is a miracle” mantra, Hausmann records thoughts, conversations, comments, reminders, and letters in numerous notebooks – landing pages which manifest into blueprints for larger-than-life paintings. Ink and paint lock-in thoughts to paper. Hausmann culls the daily artifacts of existence into a treasure trove of wisps of color, dates, codes, and misspelled dyslexic nomenclatures.

These sketches lend themselves to the lengthy letters Hausmann writes to his clients, art dealers, friends, colleagues, and supporters which extensively explain his artworks- compositions that often circle back and thread in repetitive milestones of his incredible accolades, including his residency at the Sheen Center in New York, memorable experiences with the Hispanic Society and its Director Emeritus, Teaching class as a Professor for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in France, his Family relations, and most importantly the abundant aspects of the renowned Hausmann Millworks -a creative community of artist studios in the reclaimed family mill.

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Rex Hausmann & Dr. Richard Romo ( Former President of University of Texas, San Antonio)Courtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

Once, Cezanne wrote to Bernard stating, “Painters must devote themselves entirely to the study of nature and try to produce pictures which will be an education… He must beware of the literary spirit which so often causes the painter to deviate from his true path - The concrete study of nature – to lose himself too long in the intangible speculation…”

Reflective of this prose, Rex often goes onsite to paint en plein air to capture the very essence of his subject matter. It is here, entrenched in the field of study with friends sharing food and BBQ, spinning tales and yarns for hours on end, the artist loses himself in the atmospheric “intangible” but expressively paints, talks, and writes his way out of the ever-expanding lost in thought void of creativity to arrive at a genuine interpretation of the moment. The final painting erupts onto the canvas like a ferocious lion eloquently prancing through a Juilliard choreographed dance, an artistic energy guided by principles of century old creative techniques that cling to ethereal memories- socially collective yet singular. Sentiments of Cezanne, Goya, Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and others are alive and well in Rex Hausmann.

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Hunting Blind #2 (The Duck Blind): Fort Lauderdail, Florida | The Remington HouseCourtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

Hunting Blind #2 (The Duck Blind): Fort Lauderdail, Florida | The Remington House is a new painting from Hausmann painted in August 2022, an acrylic on canvas construction depicting a nondescript and nonchalant pond and landscape somewhere North of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Painted on a father-and-son constructed canvas-covered hunting blind, the artist seeks the true essence of his narrow vantage point. A focal point from the viewfinder, the canvases mimic the surroundings, contemporary camouflage to shield the artist hunting the landscape.

Concealed behind his creation, the artist looks out, searching for relationships of shape to hue. Ammunition is the paint, while the artist takes aim to capture this metaphysical effort of recording the essence of God through light and color.

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Nissan of New BrausfelsCourtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

More symbolic to Cezanne, and Texas painters like Jose Arpa and the Onderdonk family than a menacing armed predator, Hausmann and his circle of associates are vehemently aware of double-edged sword and cryptically loaded concepts of guns and hunting, especially in relation to Uvalde, Texas, the site of a major tragedy in current American History, where one of the hunting blinds is poised to be dedicated.

The artist’s dyslexic, but honestly written retort helps eliminate any misleading interpretations for his 3-D, freestanding contemporary paintings:

“When I think of Hunting blinds…I think of my home in Texas. I think of wide open skys of Texas vistas…I remember my grandfathers study and the smell of gun oil. I remember his old gun latle. I remember ammunition boxes and bullets lined up in descending manner and the books… Books on WWII and him, my grandfather, trying to figure out his place in that greatest of conflicts. The Carbine I own and the Samuri sword were his. These objects for me carieing a very personal soul and spirit. The same as every time I look through the view finder of a “hunting blind” to paint. I myself do not take part in the process of hunting. Although I respect the sport and its linniage in my family I myself would rather have the animal as a pet than shoot it. Unless that process of ending a life is for food or is part of managing the land, as in Uvaldie Texas and managing the hog population or any such thing. That to me is managing the land, and for that we must be good stuarts.”

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Rex Hausmann opposite of Joan Miro, Hamptons Fine Art Fair 2022Courtesy of Burgess Modern + Contemporary

Rex has also shown and lectured nationally and internationally, appearing in many speaking functions including the renowned TED Talks with the TEDx San Antonio at Trinity University, McNay Museum of Art, The San Antonio Museum of Art, and The University of Texas at San Antonio as well as The Spencer Museum of Art. He has spoken on National Public Radio many times across the United States discussing his unique approach to art, his community and Metamodernism.

Rex Hausmann will be represented by Burgess Modern + Contemporary at Art Miami 2022 art fair, having already exhibited with Lisa Burgess and the Florida-based gallery at the acclaimed Hamptons Fine Art Fair this past summer, hanging opposite of Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

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